April 1 2009

Thankful for newspapers

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, I Received my absentee voter’s ballot for the May 5 election-Local School District Board Member (one only) and Community College Board of Trustees Members (eight total). Wanting to find out who these persons on the ballot were, and what they might represent, I called the Kent Community College, hoping to be able to find information. I was referred to the Kent County Clerk’s office. They, in turn referred me to the Kent County Board of Election office. Still no information. (Election Board- no information)? The Election Board office referred me to the Grand Rapid Press. Well, of course. However, they don’t do any publicity on the election until about a week before-otherwise readers just forget about it. So still no information. However, the Grand Rapids Press referred me to a website: www.accesskent.com which is a rather easy website to use, and check “Department of Elections,” Candidates/Proposal” and information available will be as current as possible. My, and newspapers are dropping like flies. Where would I be without my newspaper(s)! Support your local newspapers! Carolyn A. Wills

Thoughts on change and the tannery closing

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, I understand Char Allen’s lament in the Squire, “Why do away with the tannery?” But it reminded me that before 1926, many immigrant husbands and fathers were employed in the orchestra pits of silent movie theaters-a great way for them to compensate for language limitations while blending into a foreign culture. They came to America with the universal skill- music, which gave them confidence and money for their growing families. I imagine those families in crowded walkup flats with dim stairways filled with the sound of children’s stomping feet, women in flowered aprons, men with braces, hand washed clothes hung out to dry, the aroma of baking, and bleach. And the security of a safe warm night leading to the hope of another hectic day. In 1926, the movie, “Don Juan,” used music recorded on wax records synchronized with a film projector to give movies sound. In 1927, “The Jazz Singer,” gave the movies talking and Warner Brothers millions of dollars. That was the end of orchestra pit jobs and one simple segue to the American Dream. There were few unions or food banks, no unemployment or Federal bailout.  No one thought to hire a lawyer to sue the greedy movie theaters.  Those ancestors of ours had to swallow their pride, moms may have had to clean house for the rich folks, and they probably prayed a lot. The hallways of those dim noisy flats must have heard occasional sobs from a fretting pregnant wife.  Men who could not master civilized society’s most basic skill, language, must have had their egos ravaged. And all the time, the kids were watching and experiencing either a little or a lot of their parents’ terror. By God’s mercy and through their fears, those struggling people gave birth to us. I hope we handle our present difficulties, including the closing of the tannery, with the grace, courage, and prayers that our ancestors did. Things change. How we handle change is important.  Our kids and grandkids are watching. Dennis Cochran

Facts prove federal wetlands proposal wrong for Michigan

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, Regarding the proposal to move Michigan’s wetland permitting and enforcement from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Corps of Engineers (COE): Representative Tom Pearce in the March 5, 2009 Rockford Squire stated, “This is an issue that needs to be decided on facts, not emotion.”  I agree with that comment, however the “facts” do not support this move. In February, I provided Governor Granholm, Representative Pearce and Senators Jansen and Hardiman and several other key representatives comments on the proposal and referred them to two federal documents published in late 2008. Those documents are titled Stagnant Waters: The Legacy of the Bush Administration on the Clean Water Act and Decline of Clean Water Act Enforcement Program. Both of these reports conclude the EPA/COE are not doing an adequate job of protecting our nation’s wetlands in their permitting and enforcement process and have insufficient resources to pursue Clean Water Act investigations and enforcement actions. Most permits are issued by DEQ in less than 90 days. The average permit is issued in 60 days. It is my understanding permits issued by the EPA/COE takes 600 to 700 days with many exceeding that. And, federal law does not protect 930,000 acres of small wetlands presently protected by state law and  local ordinances. I also referenced them to a paper from Grand Valley State University titled Integrated Valuation of Ecosystems Services Tool. The report details the economics of some land uses in a seven-county west Michigan area including Kent County. The report examines the value generated on a per acre basis for the benefits derived from wetlands including recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, nutrient recycling, waste assimilation, erosion control and water supply. The total value for the 58,579 acres of wetlands in the seven-county study area is estimated to be $81,483,097. All of Michiganís wetlands are obviously worth hundreds of millions when all of Michigan’s 83 counties are included. Following his comments to the Squire on March 5, Representative Pearce on March 10, 2009 introduced HB 4542 for the purpose of turning administration and enforcement of Michigan’s wetland laws back to the federal government.  It would appear he already had all the facts of his choosing for […]

On which side of history

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, “Narrow streets, shaded by towering trees, and lined with well-kept, two story homes….families strolling throughout the neighborhood, chatting with friends along their route to the ice cream shop(s) downtown…such scenes are commonplace in Rockford, a picture of small town America” (Rockford Master Plan, p. 18). I am not a fan of felling homes, especially historic ones.  I am in favor of preserving them “to the fullest extent possible.” I am especially not a fan of “demolishing viable housing to make way for parking lots.”  Residential charm, once lost, can never be put back ( Rockford Master Plan). Take a stroll down the east side of North Main Street, from Rocky’s Ice Cream north to Lewis Street.  Since the earliest pioneers came to Rockford, in 1842, this stretch of street has always been residential. It was filled with homes and yards and trees and the lives of the many families who lived there. Over half of the street is now paved parking lot.  Of the sixteen homes that once graced this street only eight of them remain.  And in their wake we are left with two large commercial parking lots ( both owned by Wolverine World Wide), one medium-sized parking lot (owned by Pederson Funeral Home), and one small city parking lot (created when the old Oatley Theatre was removed in the 1960’s).  How did this once tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly street become a parking lot for parking lots? I don’t think anyone planned it this way.  I don’t know as if much long-range planning was involved.  One by one the homes disappeared, and whether the objections come before or after, it was always too late. Commercial needs took  precedence. With eight family homes now removed from but just one side of a street, one hopes that the stark result will speak for itself.  But then another home comes on deck to be demolished in mid-April of this year. This home, just north of Rocky’s  Ice Cream is 138 North Main Street. It will be sad to see another piece of Rockford’s history slip between our fingers. It’s always sad to see them go. I know for I have seen some of these homes fall right before my eyes.  Just north of Rocky’s Ice Cream stood […]

Main Street

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

Power! Hooked on oil? Want alternative energy? We’re all overlooking something that’s right in our back yards. The neighborhoods are full of squirrels looking for food and even risking their lives darting across streets. We should harness this power source. Here’s my plan: We buy a bunch of live traps and catch those little devils. Then we put each squirrel into a cage with an exercise wheel. Like hamsters, they’ll run on those wheels all day. We’ll also need electric generators, very small ones, to attach to the wheels. Our neighborhood squirrels will spend all day generating power for our houses. We should arrange an automatic system that drops a peanut into the cage with, say, every 300 revolutions of the wheel so the squirrels are encouraged to keep running. We wouldn’t have to feed them otherwise, just keep the hopper filled. Peanuts are cheap. The shells can be used as mulch for growing our own vegetables. Sadly, we know nothing lasts forever, even hard-working squirrels. After their efforts to power our microwaves, fax machines and other electronics, some will eventually pass on. The remedy for their earthly remains is also simple. The bodies can go in our backyard composting bins where they will continue with their usefulness. I see no drawbacks to this plan. I’m online right now, looking up the number of the Patent Office. Trouble on the job …Your accountant’s letter of resignation is post- marked Zurich. …Your suggestion box starts ticking. …Your secretary tells you the FBI is on line 1, the DA on line 2, and CBS on line 3. …You make more than you ever made, owe more than you ever owed, and have less than you’ve ever had. Trouble at home …People send your wife sympathy cards on your anniversary. …You spot your wife and your girlfriend having lunch together. …The plumber floats by on your kitchen table. Classifieds from elsewhere FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER. 8 years old. Hateful little dog. Bites! FREE PUPPIES. Mother, AKC German Shepherd. Father, Super Dog. Able to leap tall fences in a single bound. GEORGIA PEACHES California grown – 89 cents/lb. JOINING NUDIST COLONY! Must sell washer and dryer, $300. WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie. FOR SALE BY […]

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